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Thursday, July 4, 2013

What is it like to be an ER nurse? ... Where do I begin?




You are dealing with people on, possibly, one of the worst days of their lives

You see cardiac arrests, toe pain, overdoses, lacerations, strokes, vaginal discharge, difficulty breathing and everything in between

You have had every bodily fluid you can think of end up on your shoe 
(whether you know it or not... but most times, you know it)

You never get used to the terrible feeling of doing chest compressions on a frail old woman with broken ribs

You know how to put up "the wall" to keep from crying

You wash your hands before AND after potty breaks

You don't really get potty breaks, so you've learned to hold it

You put the needs of others before your own

You bribe kids with suckers, stickers, and anything else that you can think of, but almost always end up holding, wrapping, and tying them down to get the job done.  It sucks

You bend over backwards for those patients who treat you with respect

You clean up a lot of poop, but you're used to it

You wish you had more time to spend with each patient

You can keep a straight face while your patient explains how they "fell" on the object that is now stuck in their colon

You swap stories

You understand that some people are just jerks, no matter what you do for them

You will always get the feeling of your stomach dropping when you hear the call that a pediatric code blue is 5 minutes out

You get slapped, pinched, scratched, kicked, and called every name you can think of 
(and more, people get very creative with their name calling)

You can make your dinner companions throw up after being asked, "How was your day at work?"

You laugh, a lot

You know to ask the heroin addict patient what veins you can use for an IV.  Work smarter, not harder.

You get a tear in your eye when you care for a sweet, old lady who reminds you of your grandma

You realize that having a packed waiting room, working a difficult code with another on the way and running around trying to get caught up on all your orders makes working as a team crucial.  If you're lucky, as I have been, your co workers become a family.

You work your butt off

37 comments :

  1. I love this post! I volunteered in the ER and EM is one of my specialities of interest. You ER nurses have all my love and respect. :)

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    1. Thanks Heather! You can definitely tell which med students have worked with patients and which ones have not. Your hard work and experience will pay off! Emergency is a lot of fun, but it seriously kicks your butt! :D

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    2. E.R. Nurses are the best. You have my prayers and deep respect!

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  2. I really admire what you guys do. I'm sure you see some real jerks, but hopefully there are some nice people too :) I don't mind the blood, but I was HORRIBLE at science in high school and college. Horrible. So... the hospital profession was never in the cards for me. I'm sure you have some crazy stories. Also, if you have time, you should write up a post about why you like running and link up with me! On Monday I'm hosting a fun little running bloggers party, and it might be a good way for you to find some fun blogs to follow since you're new! And... since you love Target, you might appreciate this: http://www.theladyokieblog.com/2013/07/how-i-feel-about-target-in-gif-form.html Okay. That's all for now :) Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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    1. I saw your Target Gifs post last night. I was actually laughing out loud. You summed it up perfectly! I'm definitely going to join the linkup! Thank YOU for stopping by!

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  3. I've been a patient enough times to realize nurses are the patients' angels!!!! Be sure to link up with us for Medical Monday in August!!! :) Now following!

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    1. Aw, well thanks. I think I wrote this post after a particularly rough day. I probably put too much negative and not enough positive. Thanks for following. I look forward to Medical Monday!

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  4. Nurses rock! I wanted to be one and got half way through nursing school when my dad was diagnosed with Burketts Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I probably should have tried to stick it out, but I told myself at the time that I didn't have what it would take to not get attached and would cry through every terrible shift of losing a patient, etc. I always wonder if I could have been really great if I stuck it out. Point is, the nurses that took care of my dad were ANGELS and I respect what you do SO MUCH! Oh, and my dad is cancer free 5+ years now!

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    1. Never too late! I graduated at age 41 and still got to put in 30+ years of nursing. Go for it!

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  5. Love this post as a fellow nurse!

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  6. ��������

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  7. I'm a tech at one of the busiest er's in my city, and working toward my nursing degree. I can relate to pretty much everything you've said. And i absolutely LOVE my work family. They make each day happier, brighter and better. I know if i need that moment to cry, there's a shoulder there. We see some very rough stuff and it never gets easier. It truly takes a special person for this job!!!

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  8. Thanks for writing this! I am a nursing student and former ED tech. It gives me great memories and serves as motivation to pursue a career as an ED RN.

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  9. Great read. I too am an Emergency RN. I related well to the stories. Bang on!!. Keep up the great work. Where do you work? What city?

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  10. Hi Emily! Great post - a lot of emotion there, I can really get a good picture of what it's like in your job. I am working on a project right now and am curious about a different area of ER nursing. What's it like dealing with the friends/family members of patients? What about those exchanges poses a challenge?

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  11. Cheers from the Emerg nurses at St Joseph's HC in Toronto, Ontario! Couldn't have said it better ourselves!

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  12. ED nurses are the best. love my work though at times I do not like it when it gets very rough and tough.

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  13. sounds like it was when I was in the trenches years ago, Rock on folks and keep it real!

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  14. Contrary to many depictions, many ER nurses are men...just sayin'

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  15. I worked 22 years in a Level 1 Trauma Center those were the best years of my nursing career. The stories are endless some days were difficult and others weren't but they were the greatest days because of the people I worked with. We were and still are family. Go JIT.

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  16. John Lee Bass, NP, CNS, PhDMay 1, 2017 at 12:10 PM

    You guys rock! All RNs! And you all you ER RNs certainly make my days (and patients) HAPPY!

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  17. John Lee Bass, NP, CNS, PhDMay 1, 2017 at 12:12 PM

    You guys rock! All RNs! And all you ER RNs certainly make my days (and patients) HAPPY!

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  18. How about this one... I called my doctors office, they told me to come to the ER as it will get done faster in the ER.. We are the catch all for the medical profession.. Go to the ER... They have to do it. And we do.. At the end of the day, we got this, we did this.. Bring it on the next day.. 20 year veteran of the ER. Wouldn't have it any other way. Kevin

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  19. I have been an ER nurse for 20 years and I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. My co-workers are my family. We spend more time together then our blood relatives. We see people at their absolute worse yet we give service with a smile. I myself don't have a filter so I tell patients the truth weather they want to hear it or not. ( Not always a good thing) It does take a special breed to work this area, it is not for everyone. For me it was the only place to be

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  20. I have worked in the ER at a level 1 Trauma Center and a smaller yet busier local hospital, and I completely agree with everything said in your post I have teammates coworkers and son that are completely family we may be dysfunctional but we get it done and have some very disturbing laughs at times but would not change it for the world because it is an honor to be an ER nurse.

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  21. ER is in your blood. I was in it for 23 years until I had RT rotator cuff surgery that did not go well & I was forced to retire. But I still love to read the stories. I still miss it except on cold rainy mornings when I am snuggled in my bed at 4:30 in the am, the time I would be getting up to prepare for the day.

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  22. Michele Emmons, LPNMay 4, 2017 at 4:18 PM

    Don't forget the LPNs. We are a dying breed in the ER and on the floor, too. I worked nights in a Level 1 ER for 8 yrs. Loved every minute of it. I've been retired for 2 yrs and still miss it.

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  23. An ER nurse saved my husband's life....we were all having dinner in a restaurant, and Mike got a piece of meat stuck in his throat. The rest of us were frozen, but Ashley calmly got up, explained what was happening and coached her husband into giving his dad the Heimlich maneuver...since she was almost full term in her pregnancy and couldn't do it herself....Ash, you're fantastic!

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  25. There's just something about seeing that blue, drowned, 2 year old, you've been coding, turn pink and take a breath, that reminds you all over again, you are right where you're supposed to be. Gotta love it but first, you gotta do it. Fellow ER nurses are my heroes.

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  26. Nurses!? Are amazing and flexible in any situation! No matter how bad it is....I personally call them...... little gods. :)

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  27. Once an ED nurse always an ED nurse. Do mot work there now but was there for many many years. My heart is in the ED. ED nurses are special and it takes a special nurse to be an ED nurse. My hat is off to my fellow ED nurses for all you do and put up with.

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  28. Awesome. Very well done. Sharing. Miss my ER days.

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  29. I Sincerely wish that just one of you nurses who posted on here would come to the ER down where I live --Kankakee, Il. what your talking about here - Caring, Flexible etc it DOES NOT happen here !!! Thank you ALL for what you do :) wish there were MORE like you !

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    1. I'm one of those ER nurses you are bashing.....nice!

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  30. I couldn't get through a single shift without my wonderful ER family.

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  31. Yep....after 10 years in the ER this is right on!

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